Made with cornmeal and minimal sugar, this Southern Cornbread recipe uses a generous amount of buttermilk to lock in the moistness, making it the perfect accompaniment for chilis, stews, soups, or salads.
I guess you're not truly Southern unless you have a favorite cornbread recipe, am I right? There's something about the slightly sweet bread that is comforting and just downright essential when you eat chili. And cornbread croutons on your salad? The best. I used to get a plastic-wrap sealed cornbread with my meat 'n three at Peaches Fine Foods in Athens, Georgia, home to the best soul food back in my college days.
Choosing a cornbread recipe is almost as controversial as choosing a chili recipe. People have very distinct preferences and any slight deviation is met with some extreme feelings. I definitely have my preferences when it comes to cornbread, but I can appreciate other variations though. I don't think I'm quite as militant about cornbread as some. 🙂
This Southern Cornbread is not very sweet (yes, it does have a bit of sugar) and it uses corn meal and a generous amount of buttermilk to keep the cornbread moist. It's not very sweet. It's not the type of cornbread you eat and wonder if you've just eaten a piece of cake. That's more Northern-style cornbread.
If you wanted to make this cornbread even more authentically Southern, you could fry some bacon in your cast iron skillet and then bake the cornbread in the layer of hot bacon fat. I honestly don't want to know how good this tastes though.
Last but not least, this cornbread is easy. This recipe requires a bowl and a cast iron skillet. No mixer required. You just create a well in the middle of your dry ingredients for the wet ingredients and combine everything with a fork. It really is that simple.
What You'll Need
- all-purpose flour -- some cornbreads use only cornmeal, but I find these cornbreads to be on the drier side and crumbly. The flour helps give the cornbread the necessary structure while not falling apart.
- sugar -- I know, I know. This ingredient is controversial, but I am a firm believer that cornbread needs to be just a touch sweet. This recipe uses a small amount of sugar so there's no mistaking this cornbread for cake. You can leave out the sugar if you're super opposed.
- baking powder
- kosher salt
- buttermilk -- you can use low-fat or full-fat buttermilk. Either one works.
- unsalted butter -- you'll spread some out in the bottom of your cast iron skillet and the rest will go in the batter.
How to Make Southern Cornbread
Get your oven pre-heated to 425˚F. This baby's going to bake in some high heat to get the top just a little crispy.
Spread melted butter on the bottom of a 10" cast iron skillet until the bottom is thinly coated. Set aside.
Combine your dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Then create a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add your wet ingredients. Stir ingredients together with a fork until just combined.
Pour the batter into your cast iron skillet and bake this bad boy for 20-25 minutes or until the center comes out clean.
Tips when Making Cornbread
- Don't over mix. When you add your wet ingredients, just stir enough to make all of the batter wet. No need to go stir crazy or anything.
- Be sure to not over-bake. Over-baking makes the cornbread dry, so start checking the center of your cornbread starting at the 20 minute mark.
Can You Freeze Cornbread?
Yes! You can freeze for up to 2 months. Wrap individual pieces in a freezer safe bag or tightly sealed plastic wrap. Pop one out whenever the mood calls.
What to Eat with Southern Cornbread
There's nothing better than greens with cornbread, and, of course, chili. Take a look at some of my favorite picks!
- MOM'S WEEKNIGHT CHILI
- SIGNATURE SALAD
- CHICK-FIL-A KALE SUPERFOOD SALAD
- SPINACH SALAD WITH VIDALIA ONION VINAIGRETTE
- WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
Southern Cornbread with Buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and divided
- Preheat oven to 425˚ F. Place 3 Tablespoons of melted butter in the bottom of a 10" oven-proof cast iron skillet.
- In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl for the wet ingredients. Add buttermilk, egg, and remaining 3 Tablespoons of butter. Stir ingredients together using a fork until just combined.
- Place batter into the skillet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving with butter or honey.